Dear Elder Schenewark,
Happy New Year! I know today isn't any different than yesterday, except it's always a chance to reevaluate and strive to do better. The missionaries were over last night and asked us to reflect on what good we had accomplished in 2016. We were drinking our New Year's Eve traditional Martinelli bubbly, except this year, Sis. Bach found plastic shot glasses. What a riot. The missionaries enjoyed our traditional toasting tradition, and we took a photo for their mothers. We've usually had apple or grape, but this year tried peach, pear and cranberry. I do believe pear was the favorite. We enjoyed our yearly Chinese food feast as well.
We went to and came back from Tyler this week, Wednesday to Friday, while the Bachs traveled to the Lubbock and Albuquerque temples. It's always good to see the Tyler cousins, always growing up so much in between our visits. Your aunt was very generous in sharing her washing machine with us. Ours has been out of commission since this summer, and I've been wearing weekly trips to the laundromat. I've been a fan ever since, as getting the wash all done in a couple of hours is wonderful. So we arrived back home a little heavier than when we left.
While we were in Tyler I determined that Miller had a case of untreated strep, from when I returned from my Boston trip and came home to him with a fever and sore throat, three weeks prior. Scarlatina. I spent a good portion of one afternoon wading through an urgent care center full of insurance bureaucracy. When returned, I had to then take Breyer in for a case of strep throat, wading again through an urgent care center now overflowing with bodies. Their fourth case this fall.
One afternoon when we were running a cycle through a cycle, water started pouring out a small hole in the door seal. While we're catching the mini Niagara all over the washroom floor, a log fell out of the fireplace. Too bad the water wasn't close to the fire. I could only laugh, as we're literally running to put out the fire.
Breyer had two more dental visits, and finished strong. They were very impressed they could treat her, not sending her to a pediatric dentist, and wanted to know why she was so well behaved.
Tanner and AnneMarie arrived Monday afternoon and we've been in party mode ever since. We had our traditional Yuletide Log sandwiches, and celebrated Christmas the next morning. My pile for you is accumulating ;-)
Cooper was happy with the motor and receiver he can use to fly his planes he's been making. Sawyer's happy with his iBobber, as he now can locate fish swarms underwater, or something like that. Miller's favorite present is the Nike basketball shoes your grandmother sent him for his birthday, and in a close second are the black socks and black shorts to match. Breyer's thrilled with her stuffed puppies. Dad loves his metal detector, and his fishing buddy as well. Sawyer's tried it in the backyard, the neighbor's yard, and every where he goes fishing.
With a couple of trips to the golf course, fishing, games, food and fun, we've thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Some of the best moments have been just sitting around for prayer and scripture, and talking. And talking. And lots of laughing.
I'll close with some thoughts on teaching, as I know this is very applicable with your new responsibilities. One of my favorite sections in the Book of Mormon is Alma 17 and the sons of Mosiah. I'll just mention some bullet points: "Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea:
they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth,
they had searched the scriptures diligently,
they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting,
they taught with power and authority of God,
they did suffer much both in body and in mind."
We love you. Again, Happy New Year. 2017. It will be a great year. Be good, stay safe.